Synchrotron radiation sources are now available throughout the world. The use of hard X-ray radiation from these sources for materials science is described with emphasis on diffraction imaging for material characterization. With the availability of synchrotron radiation, real-time in situ measurements of dynamic microstructural phenomena have been started. This is a new area where traditional application of X-rays has been superseded. Examples are chosen from limited areas and are by no means exhaustive. The new emerging information will, no doubt, have great impact on materials science and engineering.